Monday, February 11, 2013

Chapter 2: 2012 Summary

I closed out 2011 with my 1st marathon. And  for nearly three months after I settled into a life of two of the seven deadly sins: sloth and gluttony. I am proud to have run a marathon but I didn't enjoy it the way I do half marathons and obstacle races.

Onto Chapter Two.
I didn't have a goal for Chapter Two at first. 2012 started with my first Spartan Race: the SoCal Super. It was 8.3 miles. I felt all that sloth and gluttony weighing me down. I finished in 4:03:27. I managed to make it through all the obstacles without having to do any penalty burpees. (For those who aren't familiar Spartan racers have a 30 burpee penalty for any obstacle they fail.)

Despite it being 75 degrees that day me and my two deadly sins drove home with the heater on full blast and the heated seats turned on. I was freezing. I still had the clarity of mind to know that if I don't have a steady stream of events lined up I don't train.

Chapter Two now had purpose: Run lots of races. I learned about the Spartan Trifecta. The Spartan Race series has three distances: the Sprint at 3-ish miles, the Super at 8+ miles and the Beast at 10+ miles.

New obstacle races are popping up everywhere and I signed up for everything I could. For the first half of 2012 races started replacing training. There were times when I had races two or three weekends in a row. I would train at most 2 days in between. I ran Gladiator Rock and Run in San Diego then the next week ran it in Irvine twice. As soon as I finished I walked straight to the start and went again. That was the first time my knee started hurting.

Then I ran the Ethos Challenge and the next day ran the Pasadena Half. That hurt.

I was starting to get faster. I was finishing in the top 20% for my age group. There was a huge gap between 20% and 1% but for a giant I was happy.

The next flurry of runs was 3 weekends in a row. Hero Rush: the fireman themed race. This was a great event. Hopefully it comes here again. Next was Tough Mudder. Randy, Daniel and I finished in 4:25. Then the Walking Dead Escape.

They said the Walking Dead Escape wasn't a race. They said it would take 30-40 minutes. I made it a race. I finished in 15 minutes. The rest of my wave wasn't anywhere to be seen. But like any good zombie flick my solitude made me vulnerable. With no one else to chase the zombies got me. I did not make it out uninfected.

Next I ran a 5K in combat boots. Then I ran a 14 mile trail run in Malibu. It was every bit as brutal as the marathon. And my knee was not happy.

Knee pain is apparently good friends with sloth, just as stress is good friends with gluttony. We had the chance to buy the house we'd been renting for three years. Despite being nowhere near ready to buy a house we pulled it off but it was a long ordeal. But I had nearly 2 months of very little training before my next race. The upside was my knee stopped hurting.

The Bootcamp Challenge is one of my favorite runs. Its held at the Marine Corp Recruit Depot and all the drill instructors out to "motivate" you with push ups and lots of yelling. But I was dead. In 2011 I ran it in 27 minutes, 2012 was 38 minutes. Horrible. Plus I got a slight pull in my calf with the Pasadena Gladiator Rock and Run in one week.

I was looking forward to the 10K obstacle course run at the Rose Bowl but my calf hurt. I still ran/hobbled it.

So now I had coming up the Spartan Beast in Sacramento. With 60% of the fitness I had built up through the year gone I was worried. So I ran the Santa Clarita half marathon for a training run.

The Spartan Beast was great. It was pouring for a couple days leading up to it. The clay cow pastures were like running on shortening. With every step your foot would slide in a different direction. I finished the 13 mile course in 4:27:59.

Two week later was the Malibu Spartan Sprint. This time I had company. I dragged my wife Alicia to run her first Spartan Race (actually first race of any kind). I ran it twice: once by myself and again with her. The Malibu course was harder than the Beast. Like Sacramento it was raining and muddy but the hills were relentless.

Alicia was miserable during the race but she ended up being very happy that she had done it. Plus, I got my Spartan Trifecta Medal. My total number of races for the year was 16.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rose Bowl Half Marathon

I ran last years race 5 weeks after breaking a rib in a motorcycle crash...really, I have the x-ray to prove it.  This year I was looking forward to running the race in  better health.  Unfortunately I got hit with a cold the Friday before the race and spent most of Saturday in bed.  I decided that I wasn't going to let a cold get in the way of my race.  After all, did Denna Drossin let a little thing like getting stung in the back of the throat by a bee just after the start of the race keep her from competing in the world cross country championships in 1992.  No, she keep running, passed out, fell down, woke up, and kept running.  Managing a 12 place finish.  There is no reason that we average runners can't do the same thing, it's part of the challenge, part of the fun!  When something unexpected knocks you down, get back up and keep going... you might just surprise yourself.  The race went fine and the cold didn't feel like it slowed me down too much.  The only time I really felt adversly effected was on the hills, deep breathing and a cold just didn't agree with each other.  After the race I was pretty wiped and ended up taking a 3 hour nap when I got home.   I did manage to take about 3 1/2 minutes off of my previous years time, take 2nd place in the master clydsdale class, and most importantly I felt like I stayed on track for LA in March.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

LA Marathon

Weight less, run fast.
LA is 9 weeks much do you weigh?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's been a while...

but I have been running.  I missed the Santa Clarita Marathon last month and was kind of bummed out as a result.  I had been looking forward to running the fist full marathon on my home course; I'd run the half marathon six times before.  I've been running consistently though and well, but the LA marathon was the next race on the horizon and seems too far off.  I decided that i needed some races in between now and then to have some goals to shoot for.  There are a slew of half marathons in my area coming up in the next few months.  Slew? Hmm,  I don't think I've used that before.  At least not in writing. 
Any way,  I just signed up for the Rose Bowl Half on January 22, 2012.  I ran this race last year five weeks after breaking a rib.  I felt horrible, and ran a minute a mile slower than I had run the Santa Clarita half a few months earlier but some how managed to win the master Clydesdale class.  I wasn't able to stay around long enough to receive my medal though and was surprised to find that i was a bit bummed.  I'd never actually placed first in a running event before, even if it was the fat old guy division!  Anyway, I'm hoping to significantly improve on my time from last year.

Some of the other races I'm considering:

Santa to the Sea.... December 11, 2011. Wow! What a web site, love the Christmas music 8-) The finishers medal is so ugly that I need to have it!  Honestly though, well I'm being honest about the site and the medal, but every time a run a race in Ventura it has a cool vibe to it, they do a good race there.

Los Angeles 13.1...  January 15th, 2012.  I ran this a few years back, nice flat, fast course.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

Santa Clarita: Part Victory, Part Failure

I made it through my first marathon. Victory. My time however was 50 minutes longer than my 5 hour worst case scenario. And I had dreams of 4:30-4:45. I was going strong until mile 16. My feet were hurting badly and I had some IT Band pain. But fitness-wise I felt like I was there. My engine was running great but my suspension had some worn out parts.

It would have been a perfect day to set a new PR for a Half-Marathon. I should run even slower for the first half.

Around mile 17 wile running though some neighborhood I saw a pull up bar so I stopped and did 5.

The course overall was pretty good. Compared to my 2 half marathons it was pretty flight. My only complaint was with some of the real narrow tight turns. Some of the early ones people bunched up and were forced to walk. Also some of the paths through the residential neighborhoods were not that clearly marked. I was alone on them a couple of times and wasn't sure I was going the right way.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Santa Clarita Marathon

It looks like I may not be able to run the Santa Clarita Marathon next month.  I was looking forward to it since I consider this marathon to be my home course.  I've run the half marathon 6 times in the past and this would have been my first time running the full marathon on this course.  I won't be able to run it since it looks like I'll likely be in New Zealand that weekend. I've never been there but for as small a place as it is New Zealand has a strong running tradition. I remember seeing New Zealand born Rod Dixon win the NY city marathon in 1983 on TV.  He's probably the reason that I wear Saucony running shoes. If I remember correctly, Saucony used the image of him just after he crossed the finish line, on his knees, arms outstretched, just a few seconds ahead of the number two runner.  At 6' 1" tall,  Rod didn't look like the typical marathoner.
After a little looking around, I came across this video from a couple of years ago.  Rod talks about his winning run at NY back in 1983.  It's a pretty interesting account, especially his strategy to pass the leader, around mile 26, just 2/10ths of a mile from the finish!  He looks as surprised as anyone the he did it!  He attributes being able to pass the runner in front of him to the fact that he was able to run a shorter distance to the finish line by running the corners.   Running the tangents is worth thinking about especially if you're running a course that has a lot of turns in it like the Santa Clarita course does. 

Any way, if I can't run the Marathon, I look forward to getting in a nice run or two in New Zealand and I'll find another long race in December or January.